PHOENIXVILLE - An estimated 100 people celebrated Flag Day by properly retiring 2,000 American flags as the Boy Scouts of Phoenixville Troop #58 torched old and worn flags Monday evening at Reeves Park.
According to Scoutmaster Gene Byers, the troop has been doing this for 15 years, and the second time at Reeves Park.
"This allows the community to come out and bring us their flags to be disposed of," said Byers. "We've had a very good turnout this evening. In fact, people have been bringing us flags all month. I had a few people hand me flags at my own home."
The festivities began around 7:30 p.m., as a giant American flag was cut into several different stripes, symbolizing the original thirteen states, along with five stars, that were dropped into one of the four burn kettles in the park.
The rest of the evening consisted of troop members placing flag by flag into the burn kettles, and watching the flags disintegrate into ashes.
One scout who was minding a kettle was Daniel Joyce, 15, of Phoenixville, who said the ceremony is a fitting way of disposing of worn flags.
"We've been collecting these flags for a couple of weeks now," said Joyce. "There is a lot of history in some of these flags. We're helping a lot of people by having this event. It seems like everyone waits for us to have this so they can turn in their flags."
Byers said once all of the flags have been properly retired, all of the ashes will be gathered and taken to an unknown cemetery in Chester County and spread about.
"We haven't decided which cemetery it will be, but we'll have a private ceremony for that, and place them accordingly," said Byers.
Earlier in the day, Byers said the troops collected several flags from those attending a small ceremony held at the Phoenixville Senior Adult Center at noon.
"Quite a few people from there wanted to attend our event this evening but couldn't, so we had something special for them so they could contribute their flags," said Byers.